Your body has a lot of innate wisdom. In fact, in a sense it knows more about your fear of driving than your brain.
If thinking about your fear and “trying to figure it out” has not worked for you, you may be able to overcome driving fear more easily by being aware of your body.
After all, it is your body that tells you of your fear by causing you to have symptoms like shortness of breath, headaches, an upset stomach or feelings of tension and tightness in muscles.
Getting in Touch with Your Innate Wisdom
Another way to think about the innate wisdom of your body is through the concept of body language.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of this and may even understand that thoughts and feelings that you are not conscious of tend to dictate your behavior.
Have you ever been told that you look angry or upset when you’re not aware of this feeling yourself?
You may have your arms crossed or a scowl on your face and not even realize it until someone else points it out.
Your body communicates your subconscious thoughts to the world through body language.
Its messages are not just for other people, though. You can learn to use your body’s wisdom to your advantage in overcoming a fear such as fear of driving.
To do this, you need to be able to tune into your body and “hear” what it is trying to tell you. You must be fully present to do this.
If you are “tuning out” with drugs, alcohol and other forms of withdrawal, you will not be able to hear your body’s messages. Instead, you need to “tune in” to your inner wisdom.
Tuning in to Your Body’s Messages
One excellent way to tune into your body’s wisdom is to use a method called body scanning.
Body scanning is a form of meditation in which you focus on various parts of your body and notice how they are feeling.
For instance, is your jaw tight? Are you clenching your fists? Are you squinting, slouching, or scowling? All of these actions are messages from your body.
Body scans are usually done in sequence. Here is a simple body scan technique you can use to tune in to your body.
- Lie on your back anywhere that is comfortable for you. Ask yourself, “What is going on in my body?”
- Begin to notice each part of your body, beginning with the bottoms of your feet. Slowly move your attention to your ankles, calves, thighs, etc. As you do this, notice any sensations in each area of your body as you focus on that part.
- When you find a tight or tense area or a place where you feel pain, ask yourself what that sensation means. Sit with that message or feeling for a few moments.
- Breathe into the tight or painful area. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense to you at first. With time and practice, the technique will become second nature and you will be able to use it to reduce feelings of anxiety and fear.
This is a 30 minute Body Scan Meditation by Ms. Cullen
Body Scanning and Fear of Driving
Techniques like body scanning can help you manage your fear of driving by helping you to manage the physical symptoms of anxiety associated with the fear.
By identifying and reducing the tension that you feel when you are anxious, you will be more able to get behind the wheel without panicking.
Even though you may still have the fear, if you don’t experience it so profoundly in your body, you are more likely to be able to face the fear and drive in spite of it.
The key to reducing the physical experience of fear is to practice relaxation techniques like body scanning on a regular basis, whether or not you are going to be driving in the near future.
Make a habit of practicing body scanning each evening before you go to bed or each morning before you get out of bed.
You can also use this technique to prepare yourself for driving if you still feel anxious and tense when you have to do so.
However, with regular practice, you will probably find that your anxiety and fear of driving is much less of an issue than it used to be.